The Alumor company has developed Miriam’s Well, a solar-powered off-grid water purification device. The system is based on ultraviolet LEDs that use just 4 watts of electricity to produce a liter of water every 30 seconds at a cost of .5 cents a liter. The lightweight device also contains a filter that needs rinsing just a few times a year. Powered by solar energy, the device does not require a power source. The system can purify water to US National Sanitation Foundation standards that have been contaminated by anything from feces to chemicals, and cause diseases ranging from cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery to hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio.
The new system obviates the need for professional maintenance, spare parts, accessories, or materials such as chlorine. Alumor is hoping to sell its devices at cost through nonprofit organizations.
The system is focused on helping people in developing countries with clean drinking water. Figures from World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 suggest 2.1 billion people lack drinking water, 1.4 billion of which need an efficient and sustainable solution, like a household water treatment device, to purify their water to the point of use. 144 million people collect untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, and 435 million people get their water from unprotected wells and springs.
Miriam’s Well (Be’erah shel Miriam) is the name of the spring that miraculously provided water and accompanied the Israelites throughout the 40 years they traveled in the wilderness. Though the well is not explicitly described in the Bible, it is derived from the narrative of the Children of Israel complaining about the lack of freshwater directly after Miriam passed away (Numbers 20). The Talmud notes that Miriam’s well was created at twilight on the eve of the first Shabbat after creation and gifted to the Hebrews in the desert.
According to the Midrash, the “well” was actually a rock shaped like a sieve. It would roll with them throughout their travels, and when they stopped, the rock would dig deep into the sand. It was this rock that, after Miriam died, Moses hit in order to draw forth water once again.
It is estimated that some 829,000 people die of diarrhea each year due to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation and hand hygiene.
The company is also developing a similar device for use in cities. This system, dubbed Nammu, will be placed free of charge at convenience stores in cities with problematic water supplies. The machine has an internal module that monitors water consumption and will be owned by the distributor who will share revenues with the local government. . The machine has an internal module that monitors water consumption.